Coronavirus and the Global Volunteer Community

“In times of deep darkness, we not only need light – we need to be light for one another.”  

Parker Palmer

In recent days, many of us have followed the news closely, for cancellations, and adjusted work plans, as well as sound advice from governments and other regarding how to stay safe in the wake of COVID-19.

These important developments aside, I want to write today to remind us of the importance of what we do as volunteers, especially now, in the midst of this pandemic.  Times of crisis are when people need one another the most – to help stay safe, and healthy, to provide comfort, and to be a source of hope and resilience for the future.

At IAVE, we know how difficult this time is; after all, volunteering at its core means working side by side, shoulder to shoulder, lending hands and hearts in the most impacted areas of our communities.  On the surface, social and physical distancing and concerns around our own safety, don’t always seem compatible with this. Read More...

Yet, in the past week, IAVE has heard from volunteering organizations across the globe about the measures they are taking to ensure work continues.  In Asia, the first region of the world to encounter the pandemic, these organizations have seen a rise the capacity of their volunteers to respond and step up efforts during this time of great challenge.

From the Korea Central Volunteer Center, we’ve received regular editions of their Good-bye Corona 19 newsletter, detailing how volunteers are continuing to engage from the front lines, sewing masks, and delivering food to those in isolation.  (Remember, you can click the button in the upper right-hand corner of the page to translate.)

Others around the world, like The Israeli Volunteering Council, have jumped in to do trainings on how to shift to digital volunteering in a time of sheltering in place, or from Volunteer Ireland, about how to ensure the safety and security of your volunteers.  (See below for IAVE’s upcoming webinar on these and other topics next week and beyond).

The bottom line is, no matter what you do, continue to do it and continue to innovate your work to adapt to these new circumstances.  Because this crisis will indeed end, and when it does, I assure you, you will emerge stronger and more durable in the long run.

Meantime, stay safe,

Nichole Cirillo
Executive Director
International Association for Volunteer Effort

Webinar Series: Volunteering During a Pandemic

We have prepared a series of information sessions to address the coronavirus and its impact to the volunteering community. Please join our panel of experts for best practices in response to the challenges volunteers are facing during this crisis. 


As a highly contagious and dangerous virus, COVID-19 is leaving many volunteers vulnerable to the potential risk of infection. Volunteer involving organizations all around the world are making adjustments and establishing new protocols to keep their volunteers safe. Watch Stuart Garland’s (Volunteer Ireland) presentation on the challenges presented by the coronavirus on volunteer management, and actionable steps we can take to ensure continual engagement of our volunteers in safe and effective ways.


Due to the unique circumstances arising from the coronavirus crisis, new and innovative solutions are being developed to to assist organizations and facilities who engage volunteers. Liora Arnan of Israeli Volunteering Network shares innovative best practices for digital volunteering and practical tools and methods of training and managing a network of virtual volunteers.


As the first to be impacted, the infection rate in many parts of the Asia-Pacific region are now beginning to decline. Join Flora Chung of the Agency for Volunteer Service (Hong Kong)  and Lenard Pattiselanno of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (SIngapore) as they share what’s to come for those who are at the beginning stages of the outbreak, and how, with the power of volunteering, we can respond with efficiency.


Young people play a vital role in the global volunteer community. In midst of the coronavirus crisis, youth volunteers are looking at innovative ways to assist their communities, particularly to those most at risk. Youth Service America (USA)  offer their insights on mobilizing youth volunteers in response to the crisis.

COVID-19 & WVC 2020


IAVE and Emirates Foundation are aware of the concerns posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and are working closely to plan a safe event. We are regularly monitoring the World Health Organization bulletins , and will share updates as available on planned or anticipated coronavirus-related measures that may impact travel and/or the health and well-being of our participants. Please continue to visit this page for additional updates as they are available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I purchase my airline ticket?

While we understand that the World Health Organization and various global health advisories have not suggested imposing restrictions on international inbound travel to the United Arab Emirates, this is clearly a rapidly evolving situation. Therefore, we recommend waiting until July 2020 to purchase your ticket, and/or ensuring that any travel plans are insured against cancellation.

How can you help prevent the spread of Coronavirus?

World health officials are urging the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season:

  • Cough into your elbow and sneeze into a tissue
  • Consult with a doctor before traveling when sick
  • Stay up-to-date on vaccinations
  • Avoid contact with people who are already sick
  • Avoid contact with animals while traveling
  • Be aware of latest travel advisories from your national health advisories and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention


Corona Helpers is a program of Deedmob.  It is an online tool where volunteers can find opportunities to lend a hand to vulnerable people in their communities. Whether it is grocery shopping, picking up medication or walking the dog, volunteers can help limit the impact and spread of the coronavirus. 

If you would like to add your volunteer organization’s volunteer opportunities, help match with and inform local volunteers, please contact us.


Share Your Experience

During this difficult time where many are feeling isolated and disjointed, it’s important to stay connected and share how we are responding to the crisis.

Share your experience

How Can We Help?

We’re hear to stand as a resource in these times. Please let us know what else you need at this time and we will do our best to help find a solution. 

Submit questions or concerns